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Mindset Focus – The Cupcake Principle

I’d like you to be continually learning and continually come in across new thoughts and ideas that can help me better understand my life or get better results in my business. While in a mastermind group, I found myself teaching a group of fellow business professionals in a similar space about how we can be happier and more content in what that we do.

The analogy I came to was describing our businesses in the form of a cupcake…

The base of the cupcake, the bit that’s in the paper molding, is the core stable part of the business. That’s the base of the cake, without that, it’s not a cupcake. On top of this beautifully baked cupcake, in its paper case is the icing that sits on the top. Then on top of that are some hundreds and thousands of topping bits and a cherry on the cake. These 3 component parts make up the cupcake.

Our business has loads in common with said cupcake because the bit that we enjoy the most is often the sugar icing, the creamy bit on top of the cake, and this is perhaps, in our business, the bit that we go chasing or looking for the most.

There are many businesses out there that start every month with no customers and no income. Every month, they have an overhead and a commitment, both personally and business-wise, and the first sum of money they make every month is just to keep them in business – not to make profit or additional turnover. The challenge is, if we go just for the cream month in and month out, we’re trying to fill ourselves up on cream.

We’re trying to substantiate our business just on the nice stuff. This does not lead to a long term, fitting business, if all we’re doing is chasing the cream on top of the cake.

For me, you see the cream on the top of my cake is when I get to travel the world and speak on large stages and share my experiences with huge rooms of people and often get paid quite handsome fees for them. That work I thoroughly enjoy doing. If that was only work that I chased, I’d have some months when I’m a hero and some months where I’m a villain. It would be difficult to plan, difficult for me to employ or take an office space, and it would be remarkably difficult for me to grow the business. Yet what I realized was a huge part of our activity was focused on winning more of this kind of work.

The bottom of the cupcake is actually the one area that perhaps isn’t so exciting, isn’t so sexy, and doesn’t make you feel so good. But this is your bread and butter stuff. This is the bit that, if you can get this stuff right, then you can start every month in a position where you know your bills are paid, you can create stability and it gives you a platform to grow on top of. It allows you to be able to enjoy the cream on top of the cake even more, so that instead of living on the cream, you live on the cake.

In our business as speakers and trainers, and coaches and consultants, this is the retained revenue that we get from our consultancy clients. This is the work that we get from mentoring groups that pay month in and month out. These are our product sales where people are buying CDs from websites or books from Amazon. And when these things are coming in, they’re paying my overhead of the business.


Why I talk about this as a mindset focus, is because instead of chasing the cream, you put the time, effort, and energy into the bit of the business that perhaps you don’t enjoy quite so much, but it’s the bit that makes you stable and the bit that allows you to grow. Once the base of your cupcake is big enough, then when you get to the cream, you enjoy it more. You’re not trying to live on it. It’s a treat. Better than that, when you get to the real gems, you know, the hundreds and thousands of pieces that sit on top of the cream. Those beautiful and perfect bits of work that reward you at the highest levels and don’t take huge amounts of time they’re about to deliver and everybody is grateful for, and then those are bonus payments too.

The challenge I set down to you right now is make sure you’re not living on the cream. Go look at the base of the cupcake and see if there’s enough in the base to feed everybody. If not, maybe you’re focusing the efforts in the wrong area. Maybe you’re trying to get too much of the sweet stuff and not enough of the stuff that’s going to substantiate the growth of your business.